Drive - Audi S5 Sportback Review | Catalog-cars

Drive – Audi S5 Sportback Review

23 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Drive – Audi S5 Sportback Review
Audi S5

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Pros

Muscular and refined performance

Excellent dual-clutch auto

Capable road manners

Unique hatch body usefully practical

Emphasis on quality

Cons

Gluggy steering

Tight back-seat space

Should have a standard rear-view camera at this price

Audi’s A5 range already covers a lot of ground, from coupe and convertible to the Sportback crossover hatch #8212; all with the full gamut of engine choices. But the German manufacturer has found room in its niche line-up for one more.

It’s the new S5 Sportback, which, in combining the five-door Sportback body with the supercharged V6 from the S5 Convertible, aims to satisfy drivers who want a proper sports coupe experience without compromising on practicality.

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Price and equipment

Prices for the S5 Sportback start from $132,800 (plus on-road and dealer costs). That’s way more than a BMW 335i M Sport sedan but roughly in line with the more manic Lexus IS F. It’s also cheaper than an S5 coupe (a less practical two-door with a more powerful V8).

It’s competitively appointed, getting tri-zone climate control, sat-nav, Bluetooth, voice control, keyless entry and start, powered front sports seats, 18-inch alloys and a CD/DVD sound system with full media connectivity. You will have to fork out, though, if you want a sunroof, heated seats or any of the many other comfort options.

The top Sportback gets eight airbags, stability control and parking sensors. The A4 model it’s based on rates five stars in NCAP crash tests. Having to pay extra for a reversing camera, though, is a bit rich when it’s standard on other $100,000-plus coupes.

Adaptive cruise control, high-beam assist and a blind-spot warning system are also options.

Under the bonnet

The S5 Sportback’s 245kW supercharged 3.0-litre V6 delivers a surging, linear supply of power across the full breadth of its rev range. It’s blisteringly quick, yet commendably flexible and relaxed (effortless, even) when all you want to do is get from A to B.

But the Audi lacks the bark to match its bite, with the six-cylinder’s wail a little too subtle to truly engage the senses.

The seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, though, delivers super-quick, slick shifts.

Bountiful low-rev reserves

also cancel out the occasional indecision you get in smaller-engined products from the

VW/Audi stable. It’s not excessively thirsty, either. While averages hover about the 13.0 litres per 100 kilometre mark around town, we averaged 9.9 litres in a combination of urban and highway running, close to the official 9.4-litre claim.

How it drives

The S5 dives into bends with authority and corners flat and composed, while the quattro all-wheel-drive system’s traction makes it impressively confidence-inspiring on slippery surfaces.

Audi S5

However, the steering keeps the driver somewhat removed from the action, with its stodgy weighting and lack of feel.

The Audi can be optioned with a trick new differential that continuously varies drive between the rear wheels, improving the handling balance.

You can also tick a box for switchable suspension but the ride/handling compromise of the standard set-up we sampled is balanced nicely. While lumpy surfaces are transmitted faithfully, the ride is not uncomfortable and settles down to offer decent absorption on the open road. Tyre noise aside, it’s also quite hushed.

Comfort and practicality

The same basic cockpit-style layout confronts the driver as in other A5s, although unique trims, badging and very comfortable alcantara/leather sports seats add an increased sense of purpose.

The cabin’s quality, materials and assembly are all but flawless but don’t expect much to distinguish it from any other Audi from the past decade.

Still, there’s ample steering and seating adjustment, the media interface that controls most major functions isn’t too hard to master and there are plenty of cup and bottle-holders, 12-volt outlets and useful storage spots.

Lifting the Sportback’s hatch reveals a handy 480-litre boot. It’s not particular deep and you only get a space-saver spare but it expands to a genuinely versatile 980 litres with the back seats folded. This is a sexy sportster that doesn’t stumble when asked to swallow bigger items, such as bicycles.

The back seat isn’t as flash. Leg and toe space are decent and the extra doors over the coupe make life easier for passengers but there are only two rear seats and that swooping roofline means head space is tight.

Competitors

Mercedes-Benz CLS350

BMW 335i M Sport Sedan

Lexus IS-F

HOW MUCH? From $126,800 plus on-road and dealer costs ENGINE 5.0-litre V8; 311kW/505Nm; 8-sp auto; 11.4L/100km and 270g/km CO2; RWD SAFETY Eight airbags; stability control; rear camera; front and rear parking sensors; five-star NCAP crash rating LIKES Oomphy V8 engine, clever transmission; good equipment levels. DISLIKES Lacks zest of competitors; bumpy ride; seats could be sportier. OUR SCORE RATING: 3.5/5

Audi S5
Audi S5
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